Nickelodeon locations?

posted by Michael Zoldessy on August 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm


I am trying to locate a Nickelodeon in Manhattan (or any of the five boroughs) for a BBC documentary series about the start of the motion picture industry. It doesn’t matter if it’s totally derelict, or even if it has been demolished because we just want to film the location of where the Nickelodeon once stood. Maybe several Nickelodeons stood on one street? It would be fantastic if there was still a Nickelodeon standing, although I’ve searched and it seems to me that they have all long since been demolished in the region I’m looking at – I’m hoping you might be able to tell me not!

We will also be filming in Los Angeles and I believe there is still a Nickelodeon there, but we’d ideally like to film outside one in New York for this programme.

I’m going to NY on Saturday to scout for various locations and would love to be able to include a Nickelodeon too, so I do hope I’ll hear back from you soon.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hunt

Location manager
“Paul Merton’s Birth of Hollywood"

Comments (13)

BobFurmanek on August 20, 2010 at 5:10 pm

I’m pretty sure there are still some Nickelodeon locations in Passaic, New Jersey, about 12 miles west of New York City. I have the addresses and can check out the buildings this weekend, if you’d like.

CSWalczak on August 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I think that is going to be tough to find; there are a few NY locations listed here on CT whose descriptions indicate that they were or may have been nickelodeons, but most are listed as closed/demolished. One, for example, is the Park; its entry here on CT is /theaters/4101/

When you are on the West Coast, and if you are able to film in San Francisco, you might be interested in the Clay Theatre, which is shortly to close. It opened as nickleodeon in 1910; story here:

dfc on August 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Maybe one of the old buildings on or near the Coney Island Boardwalk was a nickelodeon way back when.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on August 20, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Nickelodeons did not first start in New York City but in cities like Pittsburgh and Chicago. New York was not the birthplace of film exhibition.

The New York boom was centered between Park Row and The Bowery in Manhattan where over two dozen operated by 1906 to service the crowded lower east side tenements.

sjh on August 21, 2010 at 6:46 am

Many thanks for your thoughts and suggestions – they are very positive and I’m going to be following up on all of your leads.

Bob – Would you mind posting the addresses of the Passaic Nickelodeons? I don’t want you to have to go to the trouble of going to check them out, especially as I plan to be in NJ myself next week!

Thanks again.


GaryParks on August 21, 2010 at 5:48 pm

Go to
for the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum (Edison Theatre) in the historic district of Niles in Fremont California. Architecturally, it’s a very plain, small town nickelodeon, but it IS the real deal—operated originally from 1913 to 1923. It was used for other uses over the years, and a larger theatre (long since burned) later took its place nearby, but in about 2005, a group of volunteers formed the museum and have been lovingly restoring the original nickelodeon Edison and operating it as a silent film showcase, with a museum in the building as well.
It may be your only chance to visually document a nickelodeon projection booth that is largely intact.

GaryParks on August 21, 2010 at 5:54 pm

I must also mantion that the Roxie (not its original name—it’s had many) in San Francisco is a nickelodeon, though it was long ago remodeled into a charming little moderne movie house and is still operating. The same is to be said for the Vogue, also in San Francisco, though it’s even more redone Moderne than the Roxie. another San Francisco spot which preserves an original nickelodeon interior is Aardvark Books, I believe it’s on Church Street (very close to Market). The facade is very plain/modern, with the bookstore name in neon, but once in the door, you can see a complete entrance arch, and a vaulted pressed tin ceiling going all the way to the back.
Also, on Haight Street is a former nickelodeon with riotous cast ornament (masks and lions) on the facade and lighbulb sockets, which has 30s tile along the bottom and around the windows from when it went retail. The interior still has original Ionic pilasters down the sidewalls.
Gary Parks
West Region Director, Theatre Historical Society of America

SusanDoll on August 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Sarah: In regard to your series in general, I hope that it will include the contributions of Chicago and Jacksonville, Florida, in cinema history. I am always disappointed when they are left out or short-changed. I am a film historian and have written and researched both. See:
View link

View link

LawMann on August 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

The Cameo Theatre, 528 South Broadway in Los Angeles is still there. Here’s the link from Cinema Treasures /theaters/1157/

nerwall16 on August 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Its not NY but the south jersey shore features the SEA THEATER. nickelodeon owned by a good friend of mine


I know he would be more then pleased to talk about the theaters rich history

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on August 24, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Above, Gary Parks made mention of a Nickelodeon on Haight Street near Clayton Street, on your right going out towards Golden Gate Park. It was named the SUNSET THEATRE, later the Superbia (#1). It has an large beautiful crested archway with maroon tiles.
A sales clerk in this (antique clothing) store showed me an original, very early dated full size poster (then) displayed in a dressing room. I also took a photo(s)of it: “The Lady of the Lake” -a 3-reeler, Admission five cents. I suggested it be placed in a more secure area because of theft.
Sadly, a similar 1920’s framed etching (one of a pair) once hung in S.F’s awesome Castro Theatre in the left lobby but went missing during a certain film festival.
How can I send/e-mail you or “Auntie Beeb’s” a copy of this?
Simon Overton (ex-Brit, ABC Forum, Southampton, now in Oregon, USA.
P.S.I do hope your documentary will air in the US -on PBS-TV I hope!


sjh on September 1, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Many thanks again for all of your thoughts, suggestions and comments. If you have any further Nickelodeon thoughts, then please do contact Kate Broome at the BBC in the UK: .uk

nickelodeon on October 3, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Hello Sarah, I have done quite a bit of research on this era and have what must be hundreds of listings of nickelodeons thru out the country mentioned in the press. There are likely original buildings still extant for them in NYC, we do have some here in LA. I have some pictures I can forward you if you reply. Great project and I look forward to the doc!

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